Batman #631 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Last Stand at Alamo High

Written by: Bill Willingham
Penciled by: Kinsun
Inked by: Aaron Sowd
Colored by: Tony Avina
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

You know the drill, this is War Games Act 1 Part 8. City in chaos, gang violence abounds, etc, etc.

This issue in particular picks up the plotline from last week’s Robin (great issue by the way), as several of Gotham’s gangs have chosen Tim’s school to make a stand for more territory.

The efficiency with which the Bat team ends the conflict is inspiring. The gangs clearly never stand a chance against Batman and his squad. Willingham does an excellent job of displaying Gotham’s Guardians in all their glory (ahh, alliteration), but one wonders if it is at the detriment of the rest of the story. If the three of them can take down large portions of three rival gangs while hostages are involved, is this gang war really so dangerous? Why doesn’t Oracle leak a little information here and there to get large portions of several gangs to battle out in enclosed spaces? Do that 4 or 5 times with 3 groups of gang members and Gotham will be safe in no time.

On the other hand, it could be argued, the more gang members Bats & Co. take of the street the worse the power vacuum becomes and the more often violence occurs. Huh…that little idea there may actually be worth exploring.

If one suspends disbelief about the nature of this crossover (it can’t be quick, it can’t be clean) v. the Bat squads efficiency (very quick, very clean) in this issue, this is not a bad installment of War Games. It does not compare to how good Robin was, but perhaps that is an unfair comparison to make.

The art by Kinsun is clean and sleek. My one criticism is that Tim and Dick look the same age. Besides that, there is some very good work here.

The ending is…interesting. If they take it in the direction hinted at by the two reporters, color me bored already. There are simply too many witnesses to discount the assumptions they make to even, realistically, make what they think an issue. However, if they don’t do anything with it, then what exactly is the point of that conversation and those comments? And also, what is Darla’s final fate? I only ask because Batman’s prognosis is leaning one way, but is not certain, while the reporter’s is more…final, let’s say. Is that another incorrect assumption on his part or did I just miss something?

The Final Word: Not a bad installment of the Batman mega-crossover, but are they really going to go down that path?